Music of Hindu Trinidad: Songs from the India Diaspora / Edition 2

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Like many other small towns in Trinidad, Felicity is populated almost entirely by East Indians. In their Caribbean exile, the residents of Felicity have created and recreated the music of their Hindu ancestors. Music of Hindu Trinidad is a fascinating account of the history and cultural significance of Hindu music that explores its symbolic, aesthetic, and psychological aspects while asking the larger question of how this music has contributed to the formation of identity in the midst of their great diaspora.

Myers details the musical repertory of Felicity, which is based largely on north Indian genres including the traditional Bhojpurï folk songs and drumming styles brought by the first indentured laborers in 1845. In her engaging exploration of the fate of Indian classical music and new popular styles such as Hindi calypso, soca, and chutney, she even finds herself at the ancestral home of Trinidadian V. S. Naipaul in India. Copiously illustrated and accompanied by a compact disk, Music of Hindu Trinidad is a model ethnographic study.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
An ethnomusicological study with heart, this loving history and portrait of the people and musical culture of the town of Felicity, an East Indian enclave in Trinidad, is scholarly, personal, packed with information about music that 19th-century North Indians brought to the promised sugarcane land of the British West Indies, and affirmative of the process of change. Myers coauthor of Indian Games and Dances with Native Songs, Univ. of Nebraska, 1994 sojourns in both Felicity and India and documents Felicity's "vitality of traditions in flux." To perform this music, Hindus in English-speaking Trinidad must sing in foreign languages and so must learn wedding songs, religious songs, love songs, etc., by rote, which Myers describes not as anti-intellectual but as "the bedrock of culture." A serious and, indeed, felicitous study; recommended for large music collections.--Bonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Lib., Silver Spring
Hindu calypso? Ethnomusicologist Myers (Connecticut State U.) sought our East Indian music in the exile community of Felicity, Trinidad and found classical as well as popular new styles. She explores this music's's historical-cultural significance as well as its identity maintenance role. Includes 35 musical examples; a glossary, biographical dictionary, and gazetteer; description of selections on the CD; Bhojpur-I texts in Devanagari script; a discography; and 50 b&w illustrations. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226554532
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Series: Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 542
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Musical Examples
A Note on Translations and Transcriptions
Romanization of Indian Languages
The Narrators
1 East Indians of the West Indies 3
2 Roots 26
3 Felicity 45
4 A Day in the Village 51
5 The Seasons 61
6 Speaking of Music 89
7 Local Musicology 111
8 Wedding Day 151
9 Wedding Songs 173
10 A Song for Mr. Biswas 221
11 Song of Swans and Snakes 242
12 Songs of Love and Longing 263
13 The Ramayan Tradition 274
14 Morning at the Temple 294
15 Music and Miracles 340
16 The Death of Rani 361
17 Chutney 368
18 Sweet Memory 398
19 Passage to India 404
Glossary, Biographical Dictionary, and Gazetteer 427
Selections on the Compact Disc 433
Bhojpuri Texts in Devanagari Script 441
Notes 459
Bibliography 463
Discography 481
List of Songs by First Line 487
Index 491
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